How I Survived Reenacting Burn-out.
In 2015, I experienced the dreaded “B” word of reenacting: burnout. As any reenactor knows, it’s easy to dedicate a lot of time, effort & research into this hobby. But after nearly 9 years of focusing on the 18th century & the coffeehouse, things began to change. My demonstration had grown to the point of needing staff. The equipment required renting larger, and larger vehicles. The time required to travel to events & set everything up started to interfere with my modern life. In short, reenacting became less of a fun hobby and more of an unpaid job. Soon enough, I simply stopped having fun.
And I crave that fun! But what is an obsessed arm-chair historian to do when they still love their hobby, but hate their hobby at the same time?
Simple: branch out. History is a huge subject, reenacting not limited to one or two “important” time period or type of impression. Reenacting is an all encompassing variety of niche skills to explore. And in 2015, explore I did.
Remember when I said I would never do 2 very specific time periods? Well 2015 saw me eat those words. It started simply enough. My home town was celebrating their 150th anniversary. It also happened to be the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln’s assassination. I quickly made an outfit, borrowed a few basic pieces from my already over flowing reenacting closet and was off & running. What was originally only going to be those 2 once in a life-time events, turned into 4 by the end of the year. As it happens, reenacting the civil war is pretty much like all other reenacting. Especially when the 3 other people in your camp group are friends from other eras!
The Great War
I wrapped up the year with WWII, which isn’t a new era of reenacting for me. In fact, it was the first era that really started my interest in historic clothing & history. Way back in 1997! But like I said, reenacting involves many facets beyond just dressing up or lecturing bored school kids. In 2015 I was thrilled to join the amazing cast & crew of the TV movie Verrater for my first film acting experience. And what an amazing experience it was. I can’t say enough about how truly dedicated to getting the details of 1940’s Germany historically accurate the production team was. Many of my fellow reenactors have participated in filming projects before, but for someone who has only ever been on stage or behind the camera there was surprisingly little learning curve. I credit the years of living history, having to maintain a character & accent while following the random topics of natural conversation & having to repeat the same lecture to endless rounds of school groups, for the ease that I felt on set. I look forward to more interesting “out-side the box” experiences like this in the future.
Looking forward to the 2016 reenacting schedule as well as my 10th anniversary on this blog & in the hobby, I can confidently say that a Gap Year was exactly what I needed to revive my love for reenacting. Here is to seeing many of you in EVERY ERA!